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Tuesday, December 18, 2018, 00:05
Kremlin welcomes oligarch invitations to Davos forum
By Associated Press
Tuesday, December 18, 2018, 00:05 By Associated Press

In this July 2, 2015 file photo, Russian metals magnate Oleg Deripaska attends Independence Day celebrations at Spaso House, the residence of the American Ambassador, in Moscow, Russia. A day after the World Economic Forum said it will include a Russian delegation at the forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos in January, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, on Dec 17, 2018, welcomed the announcement. (ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO / AP)

MOSCOW — The Kremlin welcomed Monday the decision by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to renew invitations for three high-profiled Russians after an initial snub.

A day after the WEF said it will include a Russian delegation at the forum, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin was glad that the WEF listened to Russia's arguments against "a selective approach to Russian business."

WEF organizers had said last month that billionaire tycoons Oleg Deripaska and Viktor Vekselberg, and the head of the state-controlled bank VTB Andrei Kostin, regulars at the annual gathering of political and business leaders in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, were not welcome this year as they had been targeted by US sanctions.

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In this file photo taken on May 31, 2016, Russian businessman Viktor Vekselberg attends the Russian International Affairs Council in Moscow, Russia. (PAVEL GOLOVKIN / AP)

The Russian government then said it would boycott the event if it fails to lift restrictions on the attendance of Russian businessmen.

Russia's respected online publication The Bell reported Monday that WEF organizers came forward with several pre-conditions for the sanctioned visitors. They are reportedly not allowed to take part in panels organized by US nationals and US authorities or engage in any business transactions with US nationals, even if that's simply about travel arrangements.

In this Oct 12, 2017 file photo, VTB Chief Executive Andrei Kostin, left, and Russia's Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin leave after a meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia. (MAXIM SHEMETOV, POOL PHOTO VIA AP)

Asked about The Bell's report, Peskov said he understood the WEF's jitters about the US sanctions but expressed confidence that the Russian businessmen will have no problem finding useful non-American contacts to engage with during the forum.

A WEF official didn't immediately respond to an email request seeking an elaboration.

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